The tea industry in Sri Lanka is more intensive in land and labour, and less in capital. While the industry uses the land for its growth, it also gradually degrades the land with pollutants associated with fertilizer, and engendering soil erosion. Thus, the long term sustainability of the industry depends on how well the land is conserved.
In a growing economy, it is difficult to retain manual labour over long periods of time, as younger generations do not wish to render manual work in plantations.
One solution is mechanisation. Another is harvesting tea under different models, rather than the traditional employer-employee model.
Sri Lanka’s plantations have already experimented with out-grower systems, where workers receive plots of land from plantations to independently cultivate, and supply green leaf to factories. This could solve various incentive problems associated with hired labour.